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Keyspan Service Contract

Dan_29
Dan_29 Member Posts: 111
It is Fall and the Keyspan "worry-free service plan" envelope has arrived in my mailbox. Should I or shoudn't I sign up for the service plan?

Facts: My last gas steam boiler (a Peerless standard ignition float type low water cutoff) required no service calls during the 20 years I was in residence. Until it died during a single digit cold spell and I waited 3 days for Keyspan to show up as I was not on their "priority customer list". Miraculously, I had no frozen pipes.

I now have a new(May 2006) WM eg55 steam boiler with electronic ignition and a probe type lwco. I also has one fhw loop for a kickplate heater in the kitchen. The one year all parts warranty has expired. The boiler sections are warrantied for ten years.

Question: Is it worth paying for a service contract on a relatively new boiler realizing that my previous old boiler gave me no trouble or service contact payments for 19 of the 20 years I owned it?

If you have such a service contract, why did you sign up?

Dan

Comments

  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Personally??

    Read the fine print.

    See what they cover and what they do not and take it from there.

    Two years ago, for example, they would replace the draft diverter (a static piece of sheetmetal with no moving parts, but to the lay-person sounds like a gift from the gods). They would not, however, replace a circulator which was more than three years old. That is just a baby in pump-years.

    So, I cannot tell you which way to go, you have to do your own risk assessment. But see what they cover, see what they don't and make up your own mind.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"



    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • schiller
    schiller Member Posts: 60
    it seem's

    it seem's to me that you would be better served to have that relationship with the company that installed the boiler. while the fix it for free items may not exist you should be able to receive a discount on parts and materials, MUCH better response time and an yearly clean and check dealing w/ a local contractor.
    T
  • Rich L.
    Rich L. Member Posts: 414
    Service Contract

    The company I work for sells commercial and industrial service agreements and we take the age of the equipment into consideration when pricing our agreements. The service provider generally assumes much more risk when covering older equipment and the price will reflect that. If I were quoting you a price it would be substantially lower on your new equipment than on what you replaced. And as noted above the price is affected by what items are included in the agreement also.
  • Dan, which Keyspan division

    is sending you the contract? That is important as some of Keyspan is giving limited service and as I understand it may even be out sourcing some of their service. Is it the Keyspan the Gas Company or is it Keyspan Home Energy Services?
  • Dan_29
    Dan_29 Member Posts: 111


    Keyspan Home Energy is sending out the contract or should I say National Grid?

    Dan
  • Dan_29
    Dan_29 Member Posts: 111


    Unfortunately,the installer is no longer in business. Pity, he is a good steam man. He came recommended by many who frequent this page. A person who REALLY knows steam is becoming more difficult to find in my area (Boston).

    Dan



  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    dont sign!!!!!!...

    do as little business with the gas co as possible!!!
    eg: had a guy with a service contract - with a frozen pump, which kept blowing the breaker and the gas co came in and sniped the control wires - and told him "a salesperson will call" - when all he needed was a 007 - so dont do it!!!
  • Keyspan Home Energy in the

    Boston area actually out of Burlington is actually a service company. I know most of the folks there and do not have a problem with trusting them to give you good service. Service in the New England area can vary from fairly good to not so good. Many contracters in Mass are more inclined to do some service than in other areas of New England. In my area (Rhode Island) unless you have a contract National Grid will not give you service on your heating system. We have contractors here who specialize in gas service and do a lot of warranty service for local contractors. One in particular I can vouch for is the Gas Doctor or another is Natural Gas Works.

    It is your decision so really look over the contract and I would even call them for some particulars over the phone. Bottom line the fact that many of the parts on your unit are covered and some now days can be expensive it is a good idea to have insurance. Like any insurance it is a gamble that as I keep paying that I may never need it then again when something goes the bill can be through the roof.

    As one who worked for a utility for 28 years I always advised my customers to get the insurance as just covering the parts alone is a pretty good deal. I am sure there are plenty of nightmare stories about utility service and I for one know it is not as good as it used to be.
  • Dan_29
    Dan_29 Member Posts: 111
    keyspan

    comfort plan -service calls and limited parts replacement $199 yr
    premier plan-tune up,service calls and limited parts replacement
    $259 yr
  • Mitch_5
    Mitch_5 Member Posts: 102
    Couple of years back during a real

    cold spell we got alot of calls from Keyspan customers that
    could not get service even though they had a contract.

    5F outside and told 48 hrs to Wait.

    I had one occasion the home owner waited two days called us we fixed it and as we were leaving Keyspan showed.

    Just because you have a contract does not mean you will get them when you need them.

    Mitch S.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    That's pricey...

    Especially in light of them not having a clue or offering to service the unit annually!

    Steam boilers require annual draing, TSP cleaning, rinsing, vent checks and pressuretrol examination and calibration, gage glass cleaning - along with possible gage cock flushing. Chimney base inspection and stat check are a good thing too.

    Most steamers we serviced annually ran about $175-225 for the service, done in summer. With that kind of service, system failures during the heating season were non-existent - normally.

    Two things come to mind as "telling" with regard to your steamer's condition: What's the water doing and look like when at rest - then while steaming; and second, how long can you go from mid-point gage glass "normal" water level - to 1/2" from the gage glass bottom (close to LWCO shutting down the boiler for lack of adequate water level)?

    If two weeks or less in the dead of winter, you have leaks in the system that must be found and fixed or your boiler won't need a service contract, it'll need replacement.

    You didn't mention an automatic feeder; hopefully you don't have one. If you do, they're nice, but mask system leaks by virtue of you not knowing how often it may call for a drink, and if more than on rare occassions, will allow oxygen and chemically "rich" water to accelerate corrosion and rust - a steamer's primary enemy.

    Like everyone wrote: Read the fine print. Think about maintainenace AS WELL AS service! Annual preventitive maintenance from KeySpan is typically non-existent on steamers.

    Of note, the demise of steamers in your area is not unique. Market forces would suggest the demise of steam boilers would also diminish the numbers of those that can make a living servicing them. There are many steam experts out there; but market trends lock-step the number of steamers with the number of those that service them.

    Have you used the "Find A propfessional" search tab at the top of this site? It's under the "Resources" tab. Click on that tab, plug in your zip and see who's close by.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Your installer went out of business??

    Dan,

    You said the installer is out of business, but he was good.

    As long as he is not dead, he probably refers his former customers to someone still in the business who he chooses and trusts.

    Why not check with him, and ask who he would recommend to do the service for you.

    That boiler and system does not just need a contract, it needs someone who knows how to properly service and maintain a steam system, and will actually do the work needed.

    Preventative maintenance on a steam system is the key to long life of that boiler and system. The contract offers a repair after it has broken down, and probably most of the coverage does not pertain to system issues.

    Just a thought,

    Ed Carey
  • Dan_29
    Dan_29 Member Posts: 111
    keyspan

    Thanks for the advice. I have Dan's book, so I am comfortable with some of the hydronic end of the steamer. Nevertheless, I am new to intermitent spark ignition versus the standing pilot system. There seems to be no way to predict when and if a intermitent sparking ignition system in a boiler will fail or what expected life span of a "sparker" unit is. I suspect that unlike pilot burners they are expensive to replace.

    I will check the pro section for another steam guy as my former one is out of business, phone disconnected and in parts unknown.

    Dan

    PS: I have an auto-feeder (non-digital) and watch the boiler daily in the winter. I have never trusted lwco s or auto feeders but everyone seeems to install them.
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